There may be a prettier place on earth but Yosemite National Park in California is certainly in the conversation. As a hiker and a photography enthusiast it is a wonderful place to visit and I try to do just that every Spring.
I go in the Spring because that is when the snow pack is beginning to melt and the famous water falls of Yosemite are at their greatest volumes. Unfortunately, California is suffering through an historical level drought and I was trepidatious about what the water levels may be like this year.
Well, the water levels were down but they were still roaringly beautiful and the trip was it’s usual wonderful experience.
The first picture posted here is Yosemite Falls. We were licky enough to score a hotel room at the Lodge right near here. It is no great shakes to be honest but once you walk out the door of your room these falls are literally right across the street!
One of our traditions is to hike up the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls. It is a fairly strenuous hike that gets harder every year but each time I reach the top I am captivated by the view back down. This picture is of the falls itself and is what you are looking as you are climbing. Ultimately you get to the very top of this view and are standing next to the falls as it tumbles over the side.
You can keep going past this area and hike all of the way up to Nevada Falls, another few miles of pretty vertical climb. I have not done that but I hear it is pretty impressive.
This next picture is taken from the top looking back on the hike we just did. All we have to do now is go back down! A lot of people think that is harder than the hike up. I’m not in that camp! If you look closely you will see the water going over the edge and forming the top of the falls.
By the way, there at the top is a large rock formation that is quite level for the most part and provides a perfect place to rest and have a picnic lunch. There is a deli down in the valley that makes great sandwiches you can throw in your backpack and take for your epicurean experience at the top of Vernal Falls (the actual name).
A less physically demanding hike, one that almost anyone can accomplish, is the trail up to Mirror Lake. This is one of the areas we really noticed the impact of the California drought. Water levels were way down from the last time we walked this route but Mother Nature has a funny way of making things right. As the water pulled back some, a different sort of magnificence enveloped the area. There was a light rain as we headed up the trail, clouds were hugging the mountainsides and the pitter-patter of the rain created wonderful patterns on the normally glass smooth water adding a dimension only She could create. I took my favorite picture of the trip here. That’s how it is in photography. You might take 100, 200 pictures before you find one that just gets it how you wanted it. Yosemite is one of those places that makes you feel like a better photographer than you really are. Maybe that is why I love going there!
Here you go. Mirror Lake, Yosemite, May-2015.